Next skip No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Ratnagiri Maharashtra, India. Printed by Madhav D. Chavan Pratishthan of Mumbai for their generous support in printing this manuscript. The author acknowledges with thanks the permission given by Dinkar Gangal of Granthali, for allowing him to include portions of one of his earlier works published by them. This book would not have been possible without the following source material.
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Next skip No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Ratnagiri Maharashtra, India. Printed by Madhav D. Chavan Pratishthan of Mumbai for their generous support in printing this manuscript. The author acknowledges with thanks the permission given by Dinkar Gangal of Granthali, for allowing him to include portions of one of his earlier works published by them.
This book would not have been possible without the following source material. The titles of books which are not in English are translated into English for convenience and are marked by an asterix. Dandekar, published by Swanand in Pune Poona.
Mangrulkar and V. Compilors Mrs. Vaidya, V. Karandikar, K. Arjunwadkar and R. Encyclopaedia in Marathi. Encyclopaedia of Indian Culture. Associate Ed. Hodarkar, G. Published by S. Originally published in in Poona Pune , name of publisher not mentioned.
All the words in Dnyaneshwari. Published by the Centre for research in Marathi, a publication of Kalnirnay, Mumbai. First published in A Dictionary of old Marathi. Tulpule and Anne Feldhaus. Assisted by M. Pethe and lexicographer Ms. Jayashree Gune. Popular Prakashan, Old Marathi into English. Indian Philosophy by Radhakrishnan, New York. First published, The Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus. Sara Tulloch. Other sources are cited within the text.
Editorial Assistance: Akshar Consultants: aksharconsultants gmail. Faith allows no such intrusion except perhaps to suggest that since it faith is empirically known to improve the human condition it must have a rational basis. Founders of old religions, prophets, incarnations or icons appeared at a time when records were either not kept or what little was kept has been lost to posterity. Their contemporaries also probably did not realize in their time that these founders of religions etc.
Yet, religion survives not so much by scholarly scrutiny as it does by the faith of the multitudes who need an object for their veneration. And this object could be a book if the religion frowns on idol worship. Dnyaneshwar certainly did not reveal a new religion but the effect of his collective work which dealt with philosophy and religion the Indian tradition does not encourage their bifurcation was to produce a momentous effect on a huge population in a part of India the landmass of which is larger than most individual western European states.
While his work was first perpetuated through the oral tradition and later in print through centuries, alas, no pictorial record of his face or general appearance is available today.
Many of the current paintings and their photographs or statuettes of Dnyaneshwar are based on the facial appearance of actors who played the role of Dnyaneshwar in movies or plays. This is both disturbing and amusing, but the author himself is guilty of this trespass of keeping such a statuette at his home. Such is human nature. In this connection there is a curious story of a man who lived in the early part of the last century who became blind in his infancy yet went on to become a great scholar of all Indian philosophical systems by merely listening to all the ancient texts.
He knew the whole of the Dnyaneshwari by heart. This information is verifiable. However according to a legend, Dnyaneshwar is supposed to have appeared to him in a vision and a portrait of Dnyaneshwar was then made according to his instructions by rote by a well-known painter who belonged to a well-established art school.
That portrait is reproduced on the opposite page. But if that face is his, may remain an enduring mystery at least for the sceptics.
According to tradition she the Geeta was narrated or sung by one man to another approximately 2, years ago on the backdrop of an impending almost fratricidal1 war. However, the Geeta in the form that she is read today, was probably compiled and edited a thousand years later.
The Geeta is in Sanskrit, a classical language. The original narrator of the Geeta, Shrikrishna, was a king of a Western port kingdom in India and is considered an incarnation of God by the faithful. The man to whom the Geeta was narrated was Arjun, an exceptionally talented prince of a kingdom in northwestern India. The Geeta was narrated because Arjun, the prince, found it difficult to face the war that he had to wage. In broader terms he sought answers to fundamental issues that his life brought to bear on him at the time of this war.
The Geeta, in a manner of speaking, is a canvas on which several shades of the then extant 2 Indian philosophical and religious thoughts were painted by different philosophers. But the final painting is not only an extraordinary product on its own but is also unquestionably the most recognized and revered3 piece of literature in the mind of India as a country and her people.
Because she is in a classical language Sanskrit , reading, reciting and understanding the Geeta has always been a formidable proposition for the lay people. On the one hand the laity4 revered her out of faith and reason, yet on the other she the Geeta could not be properly understood by these very people. Approximately years ago a man called Dnyaneshwar Vitthal Kulkarni at a very young age when he was only eighteen years old narrated nearly verses on the Geeta to a lay audience in their 2 The Genius of Dnyaneshwar own dialect5 so that she the Geeta could be understood by them.
The Marathi people revere the Dnyaneshwari as much as they do the Geeta. Most editions of the Dnyaneshwari include a Marathi translation in prose, a few have Marathi adaptations in verse and there have been at least three full-fledged verbatim6 English translations of the Dnyaneshwari without a commentary. As we enter the 21st century, leave alone understanding the prakrit dialect, young Indians with Marathi as their mother tongue find it difficult to understand what Dnyaneshwar had to say in terms of philosophy and religion.
With the advent of English, most nations whose populations do not have English as their mother tongue are now entering an unsettling period in which they are losing touch with their own language but are not yet adept7 or proficient8 in English. India is probably a classical example of this transition and because of her size, presents a huge problem. It was felt that a book of this nature was therefore needed not only for those who speak Marathi, but for Indians in general, as well as for the Indian diaspora all over the world, not to mention people from other cultures.
The emergence of English as a universal language can now also be turned into an advantage. The current work has a modern idiom both in its verse as well as in the introductory prose at the beginning of each chapter. An attempt has been made to give it a rational scientific temper.
Western philosophy and scientific achievements have been included when in context. Approximately fifteen per cent of the original has not been translated for fear of repetition or because it contained some obscure mythology which would have needed long explanatory notes. This book has taken almost six years to write because it is not easy to translate from an old language. What is even more difficult is to effect a cultural makeover, because each culture and its language The Genius of Dnyaneshwar 3 has a distinct coherence But as the translation progressed it became clear that human aspirations and experiences have a common thread running through them notwithstanding extremely divergent geographical locations.
During these five years I have remained active in my profession plastic and reconstructive surgeon and have been involved in environmental causes through public trusts. There was of course my family who needed my time. Looking back, this is how Dnyaneshwar would have wanted me to do it. Dnyaneshwari repeatedly advises man to practise moderation and lead a balanced proactive life.
A large part of the credit for this book goes to Soniya Khare and Meenal Joshi. Soniya is the daughter of a well-known playwright and a delightful homemaker. Soniya has a Masters in English, a diploma in Journalism and has handled editorial work in a multinational publishing company. Meenal has a Masters in History, and a graduate degree in the Russian language. She has an ear for meter. Their help was invaluable.
After our work began the question arose as to what kind of English the book should be written in and I convinced them that the formal version of English would be more appropriate. They also agreed that this book could make available a large number of English words which are not used in normal conversation but with which Indians must be familiar to equip them to deal with the English-speaking world. The idea of giving the contextually appropriate meanings of some words at the end of each chapter was therefore implemented and the process enriched all three of us.
Towards the end Sandeep Oke helped with great enthusiasm and diligence15 and his electronic expertise and machines proved to be a boon. These five and odd years were turbulent in my professional and social life but all that paled before the worst thing that a man could suffer and which I had to face. I lost my only son in a trekking accident high up in a snowy mountain during an avalanche in another country.
As the family clung to each other in sorrow, Dnyaneshwar and his work were a source of strength and courage. It was after all 4 The Genius of Dnyaneshwar he who was teaching me all about life and death. This book is dedicated to Dnyaneshwar and to my son Abhay and his spirit of adventure. The process of writing this book was very complicated because of the background reading that was necessary. But this never appeared to be a task or a burden.
To read, translate, rectify and read again was a joyous experience.
Shankar Vaman Dandekar
This commentary has been praised for its aesthetic as well as scholarly value. The original name of the work is Bhavarth Deepika, which can be roughly translated as "The light showing the internal meaning" of the Bhagvad Geeta , but it is popularly called Dnyaneshwari after its creator. The Dnyaneshwari provides the philosophical basis for the Bhagawata Dharma, a Bhakti sect which had a lasting effect on the history of Maharashtra. It became one of the sacred books i.
Sarth Shri Dnyaneshwari By Mamasaheb Dandekar
Dnyaneshwari – ज्ञानेश्वरी – English Complete book